As national excitement buzzes around Georgia's upcoming election, Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico is taking advantage of the attention.
Amico is running for lieutenant governor, backing up former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, whose run for governor has caught the eye of many in political circles across the country.
Last week, Amico attended a fundraiser hosted by a former colleague in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Wednesday she’s throwing a fundraiser featuring CNN analyst and former South Carolina Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bakari Sellers.
“Sarah and the Democratic ticket are working diligently to turn Georgia blue with people who are really paying attention to politics nationwide,” Amico spokeswoman Krissa Gosnell said.
Amico, a Marietta businesswoman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Beverly Hills fundraiser was thrown by a former colleague she worked with in the entertainment industry. She wouldn’t disclose who that former colleague is. Amico is now the executive chairwoman of a truck-hauling company.
The campaign of her Republican opponent, former state Rep. Geoff Duncan, isn’t impressed with Amico’s California support.
“The Hollywood set is an extreme left-wing hot mess, and they are trying to export their awfulness to Georgia,” Duncan campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said.
“Did Amico come home from California in an electric car spilling used needles, Mexican gang members and contraband drinking straws into the streets of Marietta?” McLagan said. “Feces-littered cities, high taxes and Nancy Pelosi values are a tough sell in Georgia no matter how much Hollywood money you have.”
Amico is downplaying the attention she’s receiving from people outside Georgia.
“This (fundraiser) was more about personal relationships and excitement for somebody who brings a business background to this role than the nationalization of the race,” she said.
Just over half of the $477,000 Amico had raised in itemized contributions as of June 30 came from out-of-state donations, according to campaign finance reports. She had loaned her campaign an additional $476,000 as of the end of June.
Abrams' campaign also is benefiting financially from national donors. Of the $4.6 million she'd raised as of June 30 in itemized contributions, an AJC analysis found more than 60 percent came from donors who don't live in Georgia.
National news outlets have spent the past year following Abrams’ campaign — she would be the first black woman to become a governor in the country if elected — with reporters flocking to her events as she runs against Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Amico, meanwhile, has been featured in The Hill, a Washington-based political newspaper.
Former President Barack Obama posted endorsements of both Abrams and Amico on his Twitter account earlier this month, putting the first-time candidate's name in front of a national audience.
“This is a Georgia-based and Georgia-focused campaign and will continue to be so,” Amico said.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is covering the issues and candidates up and down the ballot in a busy election year. Look for more at ajc.com/politics as the state heads for the general election on Nov. 6.
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